- For the first time in years, former president Jacob Zuma has granted a sit down interview with the media
- The ex-president took the oppurtunity to condemn recent comments on his leadership from both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni
- Zuma maintains that an attack on leadership, is an attack on the ANC itself
Jacob Zuma has finally granted an interview, something he has avoided for quiet some time. Speaking to Africa News 24-7, the former president spilled the beans on his social media debut and shared his views on recent comments made by the current leadership.
Msholozi began by explaining his relative silence aimed at the media, saying that he had been unable to speak freely while president. Zuma said he had either been shielded from critical questions from the media or had simply ignored interview requests.
The solution had been to only do live interviews on carefully selected radio or television stations. However, with his resignation early in 2018, Zuma has been enjoying his freedom.
The ex-president revealed that his hands had been tied during his reign, saying that decorum had dictated 'you cannot be arguing with everybody'.
Free from these constraints, Zuma has enjoyed his debut on social media platform, Twitter, where the aim was to speak out and contest all the negative rumors directed his way.
According to News24, his most pressing topic for the interview was to comment on the accusation that his presidency had resided over a 'wasted nine years.
Briefly.co.za reported earlier in the week that President Cyril Ramaphosa had commented South Africa had to recover from the side-effects of Zuma's rule.
Zuma says he senses a hint of 'self-criticism' from Ramaphosa, who had been a part of the government for more than half of this time frame.
While the ex-president did not take Ramaphosa on directly, he saved his big stick for Finance Minister Tito Mboweni:
“Tito was specific in Davos to put the nine years as the biggest problem that the Zuma presidency did not help the country with in one form or another. That is why I responded.”
Zuma questioned the wisdom of his comments, arguing that it had gone against the interests of the party:
“It does not make the ANC look good. If you criticise, indirectly or directly, Zuma’s nine years you are also criticising the ANC’s nine years.”
Remaining consistent with his default fallback of bringing the party into the mix when his personal conduct was questioned, Zuma maintained that:
“If you attack the leader you are indirectly attacking the ANC.”
The ex-president felt the comments come at a time where the ANC is vulnerable, with the elections only a stone throw away:
“Because these statements say the ANC failed and we were wasting things, but please vote for us. You cannot say these things when we are approaching votes. Because people cannot vote [for] you for failure.”
Zuma called for individuals to be responsible for their mistakes, maintaining that the party should not be punished in their place.
The somewhat infamous ex-leader spoke of the sacrifices he had made for the sake of the party:
“I have gone through big [and] difficult things on behalf of the ANC, including prison, including torture, including exile. I believe in its policies, ideas, programmes, principles and everything. In the task that it is undertaking,”
Coming to his own defence, Zuma revealed that he felt somewhat victimised by recent events commenting that he has become a scapegoat for 'everything':
“Some people are making me a scapegoat of everything. Like criticism about corruption. I’m made to be the number one corrupt man. There are investigations and investigations done to find out what I have done, and nothing has come out so far.”
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